Jean-Luc Godard, John Milius, and Werner Herzog visiting Akira Kurosawa at the New York’s Plaza Hotel in the early 80’.
After “Kagemusha” won the [Palme d’Or at the 1980] Cannes International Film Festival, until 1982, Kurosawa traveled extensively in Europe and the United States, meeting filmmakers everywhere he went and being warmly welcomed. While he was staying in New York’s Plaza Hotel, he received many surprise visitors, including film greats Jean-Luc Godard, John Milius, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese. The combination of Godard and Kurosawa was unusual. Probably he was invited along by Milius and went out of curiosity. Producer Tom Luddy might have come with them as well. We had heard that Milius was a Kurosawa fan, and Kurosawa also had good things to say about his “The Wind and the Lion.” Milius asked Kurosawa to teach him the martial art of kendo, or Japanese fencing, and did Mifune impersonations, but Godard only sat looking on, smiling, and never spoke to Kurosawa.
Another unusual visitor was the German director Werner Herzog, whose name was then unfamiliar to Kurosawa. There was a book he wanted to give Kurosawa, said Herzog, but he hadn’t been able to find it in the book store and he had a plane to catch, so he had just dropped by to pay his respects. Then the next day, I think it was, he made a special trip to hand-deliver the book—having gone to the trouble of altering his flight reservations to do so. I believe it was a book of drawings. In any case, Kurosawa found this gesture deeply moving. Later, in Japan, Kurosawa took the first opportunity to go see Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and was overwhelmed by its tenacious energy. —Teruyo Nogami, Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa
All in all, Waiting on the Weather is a marvellous source of information about Kurosawa’s life and working methods, and also the most personal of all Kurosawa publications currently available in English. It may not be quite as extensive as some of the other volumes listed here, but it certainly gives one a behind-the-scenes look in a way that no other book available in English has given. It is also a delightful and light read, which should definitely find its place on every Kurosawa fan’s bookshelf. —Books on Akira Kurosawa